How to Clean a MacBook Safely but Thoroughly

Regular MacBook cleaning can protect your device from germ buildup and dirt that can harm your device.

A clean computer looks better, works better, and can even have a positive impact on your productivity. Learn how to clean a MacBook screen, keyboard, and ports. Using safe cleaning products correctly can protect your device in the long run. Make sure to use the right tools during MacBook cleaning and learn how to find professional help when necessary.

Related: Coronavirus Prevention: How to Clean & Sanitize Your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods & Apple TV Remote

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Safe Cleaning Products for Apple Devices

It is recommended that you clean your laptop on a weekly basis. This helps prevent dust, grime, and germs from building up and settling in. A quick regular cleaning habit will keep your laptop looking new and can lengthen its lifespan. The best tools include:

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  • A microfiber cloth
  • Clorox Disinfecting Wipes  or 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes
  • Compressed air
  • A laptop cleaning brush

There are many cleaning products that may be great for your home but could damage your smart devices. It is important to know the ingredients of your products before using them on a MacBook screen or other parts of the laptop. To learn more about caring for your MacBook, sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter.

How to Clean Your MacBook Screen

You will need a microfiber cloth and distilled water. Apple Support claims that it is safe to gently wipe nonporous surfaces such as the display, keyboard, and outside shell with 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. However, they recommend using water only when possible. 

  1. Turn off your computer.
  2. Unplug the power adapter and anything else that is plugged in.
  3. Dampen a soft lint-free microfiber cloth with distilled water.
  4. Use gentle circular motions to clean the monitor.

Take extra care to not get any liquid in any openings. Do not use too much water or isopropyl alcohol; make sure to only use enough to dampen the microfiber cloth.

MacBook Keyboard Cleaning Tips

Keyboard cleaning is perhaps the most important since the dirt can settle in the openings over time. Keeping your keys clean can help prevent bacterial buildup and keep you tapping away smoothly.

  1. Turn off your computer.
  2. Unplug the power adapter and anything else that is plugged in.
  3. Hold the laptop at a 75-degree angle. It shouldn’t be completely vertical.

    Image from Apple Support - Hold laptop at 75 degree angle.
    Image courtesy of Apple Inc.
     
  4. Spray the keyboard with the compressed air from left to right.

    Image from Apple Support - Clean keyboard left to right.
    Image courtesy of Apple Inc.
     
  5. Rotate your laptop so that it is on its side and spray it left to right.

    Image from Apple Support - Clean keyboard left to right.
    ​​​​​​​Image courtesy of Apple Inc.
     
  6. Rotate it to the other side and spray it left to right. 

    Image from Apple Support - Clean keyboard left to right.
    ​​​​​​​Image courtesy of Apple Inc.

Doing this regularly can help keep your keyboard clean and your keys from sticking. Keep all liquids out of any MacBook openings as water damage isn’t covered by the Apple product warranty or AppleCare Protection Plan.

How to Clean Your Keyboard Skin

You may consider protecting your keyboard from dust and other dirt using silicone keyboard skin. These can also get dirty and will need to be cleaned. Use lukewarm water and dish soap. Do not rub too hard to protect it from tearing and rubbing off any paint. Also, make sure to keep it from any sharp objects that can pierce it. 

Consider soaking it in soapy water but make sure not to expose it to harsh chemicals or extreme temperatures. Hang the keyboard skin up to air dry before placing it back on your keyboard.

How to Clean Your MacBook Trackpad

Cleaning your trackpad can be a little more intricate than cleaning your screen because there is space for liquid to seep through.

  1. Turn off your computer.
  2. Unplug the power adapter and anything else that is plugged in.
  3. Dampen a soft lint-free microfiber cloth with distilled water.
  4. Use gentle circular motions to clean the trackpad.

It is possible to disinfect the trackpad with a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. Take extra care to be gentle and avoid getting too much liquid on the trackpad.

How to Clean Your Touch Screen Bar & Touch ID

Some of the newer Macbook Air and Macbook Pro models have the Touch Screen Bar and/or the Touch ID button. You can clean these the same way you would the monitor or your trackpad. As always, take care not to get any liquids in the openings.

How to Clean Your MacBook Ports

There are various cleaning tips when it comes to the ports in your Macbook. It can be risky to clean the ports yourself because you could cause internal damage. Consider using a laptop cleaning brush to gently dislodge any foreign particles. Avoid using compressed air as it can push the dirt deeper into the device. 

The safest option is to get it professionally cleaned. Contact a local Apple Store or an Authorized Apple Service Provider via Genius Bar. Not every Apple Store may be able to offer cleaning services.

How to Clean Your Speaker Grills

Similarly to cleaning MacBook ports, it is important to be really careful cleaning your speaker grills. Avoid getting any liquid in the holes and do not use compressed air. Consider using a laptop cleaning brush but do so lightly to avoid damaging the speaker or pushing the dirt in deeper. 

If you see any blockages, the best option is to contact a local Apple Store or an Authorized Apple Service Provider via Genius Bar. However, not every Apple Store may be able to offer cleaning services.

Regular MacBook cleaning can help your laptop looking great but also function at its best. Protect your device by using safe cleaning products and be really careful. Do not use harsh or unknown chemicals on your MacBook screen, keyboard, or trackpad. Follow these cleaning tips to enjoy a clean, germ-free laptop.

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Author Details

Olena Kagui's picture

Author Details

Olena Kagui

Olena Kagui is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life who lives in Rhode Island. With a BA in International Relations from Anglo American University, Olena traveled the world. She has lived in Ukraine, the Czech Republic, China, and the USA. Olena won an excellence award for a controversial article, got a grant to blog from a war-zone, and published a short fictional story. She hopes to publish a full-length novel and continue writing up a storm on her blog The Travel Bug Bite! When she’s not typing or flying, she is loving on animals, crafting bizarre creations, and devouring all-you-can-eat sushi.